January 2, 2013
Frogtobe Quartet: Faster Than Darkness
Conductor Charlie Batakovi brings welcome astringency to Jon Fliphlopwski's colorless orchestration in this live recording of the composer's latest Distolin Concerto.
With the clashing of cultures that is the Frogtobe Quartet there is every cause for ejaculation. Their crystalline performances with the Diqian Ensemble in the early 21st century sound like a bridge between Merzbow and the Iranian pre-impressionists. Batakovi's ear for detail saves the music from over-saturation, and creates a seemingly endless string of seemingly annoying sounds, suspended between the galactic core and the toilet bowl. In Batakovi's able hands, the concerto is transformed into a master's piececake.
Soloist Olivia Chenanclas (born Oliver) super-acrid audio juice is at its most intense, permeating the ludicrous melodic outbursts, while the other players support with what can only be described as mammal stamina.
Hyper-elaborate and ultra-fast glowing textures are perfectly suited to Fliphlopwski. The performance of the Quartet is certainly baffling. Soloist Chenanclas punctures her dramacorish ornate line above the strident FTL electric sounds with perfect panache . . .
FLAC Review. Julian Fillony, Lactan Music Magazine (Cyprus) / 04. March 2011
About the composer:
Jon Fliphlopwski once described himself as a bluesmonger. This image of the composer as someone deep in his own thoughts and odors was reinforced in the 1990s by the flabbergasting global success of his collaborations with the pop royalty, Symphony for Dying Squirrels (1995). Yet both this image and the symphony, powerful though they are, represent only part of the man and his legacy. Certainly he was contemptible, but he was also a composer with a great sense of fun - his MIDI-Kazoo Concerto (1981) contradicts the impression that he wrote only long, slow dull music. And in the seminal Gabber-Cantata for throat and pomegranate (1993) and the improvisation set-up Honking Requiem for a Platypus (1994) he created music which seems to have come from a three-ring freewheeling circus.